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Friday, September 25, 2009
Football journey: Brandon McGowan

By Mike Reiss

On Saturdays throughout the season, the plan will be to highlight one Patriots player's football journey. This week, it is safety Brandon McGowan.

The 25-year-old McGowan is in his first season with the Patriots. He started in last Sunday's 16-9 loss to the Jets, while continuing his role as a core special teams player.

Where it all started. "I was around 5 or 6 years old, just playing with my friends in the schoolyard, or in the streets. By around 7 or 8, I think it was my mother who signed me up for the PAL League. Ever since then, I've been playing, at all different positions -- running back, receiver, corner, safety, linebacker. I went on to play high school ball in Jersey City at Lincoln High School. After that, I went to college up at Maine with Coach Jack Gosgrove."

Maine memories. "I had a great experience, met a lot of friends who I still talk to. At first, it was a little shaky for me because it was a different environment. Those things, you just have to adapt to and get used to. I pulled it through."

Players and teams he followed growing up. "I was a Buffalo Bills fan. I used to like Thurman Thomas. I always picked the Bills because a lot of my family is Cowboys fans, so I always used to go against them. I always liked the Bills, too, so I just stuck with them."

His NFL progression. "I knew I wasn't going to be drafted, so my goal was to find a good agent, someone who could get me a tryout so I could show teams what I could do. Stephen Cooper was my teammate up in Maine and he talked to me about agents. I went and met his agent, and decided to go with him, Buddy Baker. I had a tryout with Chicago, showed them what I could do, made it, and was there for the last four years. Now I'm here, with a good team with good coaching."

On achieving his NFL dream. "At Maine, I thought about it. I had a coach there, Torrian Gray, who told me my freshman year that if I keep doing what I am doing, and working hard, he said I could play at the next level. I figured he knew, because he played in the NFL. Plus, when I went to Chicago, he was the assistant defensive backs coach."

Last week's journey: Rob Ninkovich